We often get asked if we are a Uniform Store, from EMS, to Fire, Police and Military. The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of variables with what “is” a uniform. There are primarily Class A and Class B uniforms. I often tell people we are closer to a Class B Uniform Store because we do not do tailoring, but it really depends on what you are doing for a living. We do have a Federal Firearms License for doing firearms transfers and many of the products we sell like Streamlight Flashlights and Surefire Flashlights have a very broad customer base. We like to market ourselves as a Tactical Store because we are not a Gun Shop or a Class A Uniform store. We like to sell ourselves as more of a modern Army Navy Store and we also get a lot of National Guard and Military Personnel for backpacks and hydration.
There is another market we like to cater to and that is the Emergency Services and Survival. There are many cross overs for rescue gear, First Aid, Camping, GoRuck and Hiking. Some of the backpacks we sell can be sold to Emergency Rescue Teams that may be deployed looking for convicted felons or even lost children. You need hydration for several days of hiking and what you want to do in that time period is survive. There is a stigma against words like “survivalist” but it’s really a Boy Scout mentality that is very common with responsible people and prevalent with First Responders. We tend to change up our product line with the seasons and the weather, emergency blankets, thermal gear in the winter and hydration and long term food storage in the Summer and Fall. There are not a lot of stores like ours, probable 1 for every 500 gun shops in the Country but get the word out that there’s a Tactical Store here in Pennsylvania.
Tru-Spec has come out with a lot of new material designs in the last couple years, it’s yet another thing people don’t always comprehend when shopping online, especially guys that don’t know fabrics. There are lightweight pants, and there are heavy weight pants, but there are a lot of in between fabrics. The Tru-Spec Delta Pants are not what I would consider “heavy” but since the majority of people always want lightweight clothing, considering that so much of the United States is in for a cold winter, you gotta switch from lightweight to something warmer and Tru-Spec has you covered.
People will always have their preferences in fit and pocket design, but the selling points for this pant is that it has spandex built into the the cotton fabric, which gives you a softer and more flexible feel. There is no ripstop in this pant like so many other pants in this industry, and it’s a layer of clothing you are going to wish you had if you are working in 15 F temperatures. The Tru-Spec Delta Pants are available in Khaki, Black and Coyote are priced at $54.95.
Most of this industry is full of 65/35 polyester cotton ripstop. If you didn’t know that, check the labels on your Propper, 5.11, Tru-Spec, Blackhawk and Vertx Pants. You are starting to see other materials being introduced, primarily lycra which gives material a little bit more stretch, many practicing martial arts are finding this to suit them well. The Tru-Spec Ascent pants and the 5.11 Stryke Pant are two of the more popular styles we see selling. These pants are not going to keep you warm in the winter though. I’ve done enough security gigs where I was reminding myself that on the next shift its time to switch to another material because those 1am-7am shifts can be painfully cold compared to sunny afternoon work.
I have to be honest, the Tru-Spec pants that sell the most are the lighter weight products, but if you are use to wearing the 24/7 Series Tactical Pants, there is an all cotton canvas pant with the exact same pocket patters that is available. There is another style they just came out with last year called the Delta, it’s a nice pant but we know that people always have their preferences with pocket patterns. One of the major negatives of the Tru-Spec pants product line is all the variations in hand pocket angles and depths. We’ve seen a lot of people complain that when they try to add to their Tru-Spec pants wardrobe, that there are too many variations of wallet pockets and hand pockets that it’s hard to pocket carry in some of the styles and access to hand pockets can be inhibited if you are wearing a paddle holster. OWB Holsters can also inhibit access to the knife pockets that they design on some of their pants. (Hint) That’s why Blackhawk and 5.11 Tactical and many others, have pockets forward of the hand pockets. It’s a good quality product line but you’re going to have to pick and choose what works for you.
There are several product lines we have recently picked up that our customers asked us to start carrying. While we are very cautious about what kinds of inventory we stock, there is something that we really liked about the Rothco outerwear that we really liked. We recently found out about another regional Army Navy store closing down and to be honest, there really isn’t much opportunity to acquire military surplus clothing like there use to be. So many of these stores try to pick up modern military production clothing and the profits aren’t just there. Rothco Jackets like Rothco MA-1 Flight Jacket is only $36 and gets people through most of the fall is a light windbreaker. Everyone has a variation of the M-65 jacket and Rothco is one of them. They do a good job of making vintage military jackets.
The only negative we’ve gotten so far is that Rothco could do a better job of putting better quality zippers on their jackets. The Rothco Jackets that we sell the most of are the Soft Shell jackets, there are considerable differences in the weight and tactical or concealed carry applications so do some research into what works best for you. The Rothco A-2 Leather Flight Jacket is an outstanding version but on the much higher price. With all of the options you might consider, Rothco hits at a much more reasonable price point for wear and tear clothing.
There are tons of tactical pants to choose from, but there are not that many we can say are good for everything. We’ve been around long enough to see companies come and go, but as much as we have have our preferences, not everyone will be happy with just one brand. We’ve done a brutal analysis of various tactical clothing companies, from Rothco, Tru-Spec, UnderArmor, 5.11 Tactical and Vertx. Every brand has there own targeted market, but we’ve seen many people tend to lean towards the lower profile clothing because if you can wear it more, you are going to use it more. Sometimes just a chance of color on a style makes the difference in your perceived profile.
Tru-Spec makes a quality product and is worth looking into, but they have a few duds from time to time. With how competitive the tactical clothing industry is, price points and quality control is where it is at. My personal preference in the Tru-Spec product line is towards the Tru-Spec (what was the Gunny Signature Series Boot Cut Pant) and is now called the Tru-Spec Mens Tactical Boot Cut Trousers, these have deep hand pockets for pocket carry, and larger knife pockets and makes a great EDC carry pant. I do find that if you are carrying a sidearm on the strong side you might have issues with using the designed knife pockets which is why many other companies move pockets towards the front, like the 5.11 TDU pants and the Propper Kinetic Pants do, I wish Tru-Spec would design things like these but they still have some good stuff.
The weather patterns across the United States varies. Here in the Northeast we get 4-6 seasons. Most operators are wearing lightweight clothing because they are moving all the time and sweating. There are big differences in all the materials used in various tactical pants but the most common is 65/35 polyester/cotton ripstop. While I can tell you why it is the most common, it is not the most popular because it does not have the best reputation of being all that lightweight in 85F and up temperatures. It is an easy maintenance pant that doesn’t wrinkle like some other fabrics and it’s also very resistant to absorbing moisture. Tru-Spec pants can be made from varying types of polyester cotton ripstop, 100% nylon, 100% cotton and cotton canvas and lycra.
When the temperatures drop up here, the Tru-Spec original pant is an easy switch over because the pocket patterns are identical to the polyester cotton ripstop but the material is heavier and warmer. If you are out on the range from October-March here in Pennsylvania, the last thing you want to wear is ripstop pants. You’ll feel that cold wind blow right through you on the course. If you are running and gunning and stop for long periods of time that’s when you’ll wish you had the Tru-Spec pants in 8.5oz Cotton Canvas.
We have been very new to the Rothco product line, but they have been around a very long time and have a very good presence on social media and are very good at marketing their product. We jumped onboard early in 2017 with the product line and found that it has filled a niche. There are always different levels of durability and quality, but some people want to buy what they can afford. When it comes to Rothco Jackets, they have a lot of Military, Tactical and CCW options. We’ve search around the web for IDPA vests, and Rothco has them, and have been trying to fill the void on a lot of other outerwear. Online you can always find plenty of options, but with clothing, you never know how it is going to fit you and how heavy it is. Most men we deal with have no idea about product materials, but they know what they like when they feel it.
Most people have moved away from the idea of needing a Han Solo winter jacket, and Soft Shell Jackets are very common. There are huge differences in fit between Condor Soft Shells, Tru-Spec Softshells and 5.11 Tactical Softshells. You might see 40% differences in prices and if you don’t think you need to spend that much, then don’t. I think Rothco could afford to put better zippers on some of their products but we have been extremely happy with our customer responses for Rothco Jackets, they buy them because they can afford them. There are several Vintage Military Styles, M-65 and Bomber Jackets and Flight Jackets.
There are always new materials and fabrics coming out that have improvements in stretch, flame retardants or breathability. Cotton is always very good for breathability which is why t-shirts and jeans and t-shirts and shorts are not going to go away in hot climates, but they have their drawbacks. One of the major issues with all cotton products is that always shrink to some degree. 65%/35% polyester/cotton clothing won’t shrink so much, but there area always quality control variations depending on the brands. We are often asked what the differences are between Rothco Combat Shirts, Tru-Spec Combat shirts, 5.11 Combat Shirts and Condor Combat Shirts. There are plenty more out there but we know that not everyone is going to drop $100 or more on a shirt.
There is a huge crossover market which many of the products we sell, but we don’t always sell the most expensive products and we always avoid going to low on quality. The first thing I’d have to say when looking for a combat shirt is the Tru-Spec Combat shirts that outsell any other type are the 1/4 Zip Combat shirts. If you are wearing body armor you are going to wish you had that feature when you are sweating up a storm. There are several military units that are actually issued these shirts in Multicam so you know they have a very high approval rate. There are big differences in the layout of the sleeves from brand to brand, pocket patterns and fit, so this is something that people either dislike, or it closes the sale. The Multicam 1/4 Zip Combat shirts are sold in either a Polyester/Cotton Ripstop or a Nylon/Cotton Ripstop. There is a Standard Combat Shirt, Winter Combat Shirt and the new Urban Force TRU combat shirt. The main reason is that some military and police forces want they nylon/cotton material for added flame resistances, Tru-Spec demos this on a youtube.
We choose Tru-Spec over many of the other brands based on 2 factors, price point, and quality control. We never hear about sizing inconsistencies, but there are different “fits” for some of the styles. Primarily the differences between the 24/7 Series and some of the Military BDU sizing. There is a broad selection of fabric differences, the biggest being the 65/35 Polyester Cotton Ripstop. While this material does not breath as well as 100% nylon or 100% cotton ripstop, it is definitely in the lightweight pant category. There is also a all cotton style in the 24/7 Series Tru-Spec Pants that is good for winter weather.
There are always going to be preferences on pocket patterns, and that’s our customers decision. The standard Tru-Spec Pants in the 24/7 Series has been around a long time, but I have, along with many local Federal Agencies prefer the Tru-Spec Boot cut pants “formerly know as the Gunny Boot Cut Pants” because the wallet or ID pocket has a traditional pant look, the knife pockets are slightly larger and the BDU pocket has a much more modern design for stowing phones, mag dumps or handcuffs. The Tru-Spec Eclipse pant is 100% nylon and an excellent pant for hot and humid weather and for keeping bugs off of your legs without having to load up on bug spray, We’ve had a lot of Agencies in Haiti and even Pennsylvania Game Commission buying this style.
Rothco is a new product line for us this year and we expect to be picking up more of their product lines, but when it comes to shorts that work with our customer base, this is something we think will be a new option for them. The Rothco BDU shorts come in 9″ inseam to 13″ Inseam which may or may not be your thing. The point is that they are all like the military pants and have deep pocket for stowing gear. The Camo pattern options give you a broad selection of new patterns or vintage options like the traditional Woodland.
While the shorts are going to be as stiff as the military BDU pants, this means they will be durable. This is probable the least expensive tactical clothing brand that has a shockingly good value. The one trade off is the pockets are as modernized as many of the other tactical shorts we sell, like knife pockets, cell phone pockets ect, but if you want to wear something different this year, see the multiple Rothco BDU Shorts styles we recently listed.